The India head coach also gave some advice to the AIFF for development of women’s football.

Brazil ended India’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup debut with a 5-0 demolition at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The Group A runners up turned up in their blue away kit and gave Thomas Dennerby’s side a tough time across the 90 minutes on the pitch.

Brazil scored two in the first half and wrapped the game with three strikes straight from the heavens in the second half. India tried everything they could, but it was just not mean to be for them. 

After the final game of the tournament, India head coach Thomas Dennerby shared his thoughts with the media.

Thoughts on the game

The Swedish head coach began by sharing his thoughts on the game. He said that Brazil were good, but India were not bad either.

“Congratulations to Brazil, there were a little bit better than us. We defended well and now we know they are good at some specific areas like shooting from distance. We made small mistakes and I think we were holding the game but not dominating it. 

“The performances have improved with each game, but today we were slower in press and they scored three goals. We need to be quick. The only thing that is disappointing is that the referee did not give a decision in our favour when the Brazil player caught Neha when she was through on goal,” added Dennerby. 

He further spoke about a chat with the referee at half-time.

“When I asked the referee about it at half-time, she told me that it was not enough to be checked. This is something I learnt new. If she didn’t catch Neha, it would have been a different thing. Brazil were still better, but I’m not blaming the referee for the loss,” he asserted.

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Advice to the AIFF

Dennerby was asked about what would be his advice to the AIFF about the development of women’s football moving forward. He said that India has a good chance to be one of the top teams in Asia if they set up an academy.

“India has a good chance to be a top team in Asia. We have talented players, but they need to come to a good environment where they do the basics every week. It can’t stop for two to three months.

“Consistency and a long term program need to be there. But, we need to nurture our talent from a young age and it would be good to have an AIFF academy with a good coach from where we can have the good players to feed the senior team,” he said.

Mood in the camp

Thomas Dennerby went ahead and shared what his conversation with the team will look like after the match day activities. He said, “For me, when I talk with the girls tonight, I’ll tell them honestly that they have the talent to be the national team players and play good tournaments. These young girls can be signed by good teams in the IWL (Indian Women’s League).

“We played four times against Odisha and we didn’t lose one game. These girls are ready to play senior level football. The most important thing to understand is that consistency is the key and two to three months of football will not help,” he added.

On more exposure tours

Thomas Dennerby stressed upon the importance of having more exposure tours in order to get results. He also said that if the girls go abroad and get themselves enrolled in academies, it would be a great thing for their development.

“More exposure tours could’ve helped a lot, but we knew how things were, so it was very hard for us as we were suspended. 

“But, of course we can see that with experience the girls are performing better and better. Even now I’m hopeful that if they go abroad to good academies it will help the girls a lot,” he asserted.

Experience of leading India at a World Cup

Thomas Dennerby concluded the interaction by sharing his experience of the last seven days where he lead India at a World Cup.

He started, “I’ve been to three senior team world cups and I must say that everything over here was very well. It has been a good experience and I’m happy that we got all the support from the journalists.”

The tactician added, “I think the relationship with you all is really good and I really appreciate that. My staff has been helping me a lot. Even the girls are very wonderful and now I’m giving them more freedom. I want them to improve and have their best time on the pitch.”

“There’s so much I’m happy for. Of course it’s tough to lose all three games at a World Cup. But, it has been a good experience and thank you so much India, it was great working with you all,” he concluded.

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